Engagement…Is There One True Definition?

I was scouring the blogosphere last week after getting some recommended posts via re-tweets. Of the three I read, all had different definitions of engagement in social media. In our ever changing world, we’ve had to define and re-define certain aspects of PR and marketing. I would think we’d have engagement pretty well narrowed down by now.

However, I don’t think having a solid definition of engagement is a real issue. Why? Because we all talk about engagement in certain ways. Some see that re-tweet that directed me to a blog as the ultimate form of engagement, while others believe that it is responding to a post on Facebook. And if you got into an argument, both of these answers COULD be correct.

How I see engagement is probably a bit different than you. Am I right or are you right?

Here is how I go about defining engagement-

1) Listening to your client(s) – What are they looking for? What do they want to achieve?
2) Understanding the audience – Who are your followers and what are they saying already?
3) Give them something to talk about – You can’t just sit back and watch. Get your “brand champions” energized.
4) Provide a service – Your fans or followers want to listen. Make sure to provide value and build trust.
5) Make the content great – You want to make sure they continue to come back. If the content is compelling, you’ll have champions in no time.

A five-step definition may not be simple, but it is effective. That is what all our clients, supporters, and bosses would like.

Share on Tumblr

  • Jason, you did a great job of defining engagement with this post and I would not have much to add on the engagement for the company – client relationship.  I would add that social media has opened additional engagement doors beyond the consumer to include levels of engagement with journalists, competitors, partners and other entities that fosters collaboration, education and competition in addition to marketing products and services.  You’re right, engagement is a very broad term and can be defined in so many ways.  Social media has drastically changed the landscape!

    • John,
      Excellent point with engagement to journalists, etc. I just read a recent blog on that very topic. Now that journos are accepting story pitches via SM, it’s important to learn the proper ways to do so.
      Thanks as always for commenting!

  • I love that you wrote about this, Jas! I feel like there are so many different definitions bouncing around lately, and it’s tricky to pick the “right one.”

    I like your idea of basing the definition on client needs. For me, maybe engagement is comments and likes on Facebook, but for you it might be @replies on Twitter. Different strokes for different folks. It all comes back to your goals. Funny how that always happens, huh?